|Running Your Car On Water|
Everything Your Mother Never Told You About Octane Boosters
Octane boosters are for real. The thing is… Are they worth the money?
Most of you reading this have probably seen those little cans of stuff on the shelf labeled “Octane Booster” and wondered gee... Do they work? Are they worth the money?
First off, yes they do work. From the $1.00 a bottle to the $10.00 a bottle ones. They all work, but read on and discover why you may want to spend the $10.00 for it, and not the $1.00... Or you just may say, forget it. It’s not worth it!
The first thing I need to bring up is do you even need an Octane Booster. To answer that, first look at your car’s owners manual. What grade gas does it need? If they say 87 Octane, 99% of the time that is all the Octane anyone will need. Buying or making the gas into a higher octane is a total waste of money.
To get a better understanding of Octane check out:
Reprinted from The American Petroleum Institute, Octane: Making the Right Choice at the Pump
The Low-Down on High Octane Gasoline, unless your engine is knocking, buying higher octane gasoline is a waste of money
FTC Consumer Alert! How To Be Penny Wise, Not Pump Fuelish What Octane Rating Of Gasoline Should I Use? save you a few bucks on gasoline
Now back to Octane Boosters:
First off yes, they really do work. If the one for $1.00 works, and the one for $10.00 works why should I spend the $10.00? Hey, I said they all work. I never said that they were all equal or worked enough to make a difference. The main difference between cheap octane boosters and the more costly ones is the fact that the cheap ones are not really Octane Boosters. Not boosters? Yup, the cheap ones say “Booster”, but they really do not contain any chemicals to increase the Octane (the most expensive ingredient in a booster, is the chemical they use to “boost”). The cheap ones are really just engine cleaners. Cleaners? Yes a clean engine is less likely to ping; thereby its octane need is reduced. Check out the fine print on those cheap bottles. You will see they never say “will raise your octane by X amount (the expensive ones will say it), they just say “reduces the Octane Needs...”, etc.
Do you need the more expensive stuff? Maybe yes, Maybe no. If you have not made any modifications to your car’s engine, and it never pingged before, and you are still using the same grade of gas, then all you need is to run the “Cleaners” to get things back to normal, and you only need to do it every now and then.
If you have made Engine modifications, or can’t get the Octane rating in gas you need, then you need to go with the better stuff. Now different manufacturers go about mixing their stuff up a little differently from each other, but the really good ones use what they call a “catalyst” that works with the combustion process to effectively raise the Octane Rating of the gas it is mixed with. The good ones that actually say stuff like “will raise Octane rating 5 points” will take a tank of 91 octane to an effective octane of 96.
But for those looking to spend at least $6.00 a bottle... That can start to add up if you are consuming one tank of gas per week. Lets see 6x52=312. $312.00 is a lot to spend just to keep your car happy, but if you need it you need it. The alternative is to have a car that simply will not run the way it was designed to. Or is it? More on that thought later. Back to the $6.00 buck a bottle thing. If you only need that extra help when you are heavily loaded or towing, then stick with the occasional bottle or two. The other thing to consider is, if you like to really drive your car the way it was designed to be driven, then “what is the entertainment value” of that $6.00 worth to you.
Save money do it yourself. Are you nuts! The stuff that acts like a catalyst is readily available for the do it yourselfer. But all this stuff is very nasty. If you are bent on doing it yourself read on. If you have no interest in doing it yourself, but really need that Octane boost but are thinking... $300.00 per year, year after year.... There must be a better way... You are right, there is. And it is more cost efficient. Just run your car on WATER... WATER! Hey, get the info in part two of this article:
Yes, You Can Run Your Car On Water!
Just to note in researching this article I talked with the top 3 brands of Octane Boosters in the US; The ones with the best reputations. In fact they all pretty much told me the same thing. They also were willing to state that of all the other Boosters out there, if they could not get the one they make, they would only use one of the other two. They felt the rest was a waste of money. And no, it was not the P.R. folks I talked to. It was their chemists.
best way to make your own Octane Booster is simply to make up a Methanol or
Toluene mix. Unfortunately I believe it is extremely dangerous and more likely
to result in a disaster, then to make your car go faster.
Most major US gas Octane Additives use MTBE, Methanol or Toluene.
Let me make this perfectly clear. Do not even think of mixing up your own Octane Booster. I believe that it is too easy to screw it up big time. If not killing your car, killing yourself. Just buy the best gas you can.
If you want to do some of the research I looked at and decide for yourself then start with these links:
What is Octane?
If your Brain is not dead yet:
above said, I hope you now believe
as I do that doing it yourself is not a real option. So what can you do? Read
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Last modified: November 08, 2002